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How to Spruce Up Your
Favorite Fall Leather Items

October 20, 2021

Supple leather boots, a good leather handbag and a hand-stitched leather wallet are all great fashion investments. But they are just that – investments. Quality leather is expensive so it’s imperative that it is well taken care of to keep it looking its best. Figuring out how to restore a faded leather bag or how to make a leather bag look like new again is easier than you think. There are just a couple of steps involved, including cleaning, conditioning and waterproofing, to make your leather look new again.

How to Remove Stains and Spots from Leather

Leather items just can’t be thrown in the washing machine. The best way to clean them is by spot cleaning by hand with a soft cloth. Some stains might require different methods. These cleaning methods are for smooth, pebbled or untreated leather – not suede or patent leather.

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  • For common stains: Use an ultra-mild soap solution of one part soap to 10 parts water and apply it gently with a wet white cloth to the stain. Another homemade option is to use two parts white vinegar and one part olive oil in a spray bottle and apply to the stain. Use a circular motion to work the cleaning solution in well. Wipe off the solution with a dry towel and let the leather item air dry. 
  • For oil-based spots: Don’t apply water. Instead, use a dry cloth to blot the area and it should dissipate. If it sticks around, sprinkle a little baking soda or cornstarch and rub it in with a damp cloth. Let the baking soda sit overnight and wipe off the dried powder with a soft cloth. 
  • For ink stains or transfers: Start conservatively by dabbing the stain with some alcohol-free facial cleansing wipes. Use circular motions and then let dry. If the ink stain is old or just plain stubborn, dip a cotton swab in nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol and lightly blot the stain. Don’t rub, or you could make the ink spread. Blot gently till the stain is gone. Wipe with a clean, damp cloth and dry with a towel.

Once your leather item is clean, apply a leather conditioner to keep it from drying out. A leather cleaner will also make your leather shine again. Commercial leather conditioners are widely available (check out these on Amazon), or you can make your own by mixing one part vinegar and two parts linseed oil. Apply it to the leather item and buff with a soft cloth. 

How to Protect Your Leather

Caring for your leather items is a lot easier when you take steps to prevent damage. Leather conditioner is essential to keep your leather items soft and supple when not in use. But it is just as important to store them carefully when not in use. Place your leather items in a pillowcase or dust bag when not in use. Stuff the inside with bubble wrap or parchment before storing so your handbag, or boots keep their shape.

Consider also giving your new bag or boots a waterproofing treatment. It’s important to follow the directions on the spray to make sure the process is done effectively. For example, you’ll likely have to thoroughly clean and condition your item before applying the waterproof spray.

Take these steps to keep your leather items looking like new for longer, no matter how much you love them! 

Interested in cleaning up other areas of your life, like your house? The Maids has some ideas for that too. Check out our cleaning services page for more information.

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